Utah Jazz: 5 Repercussions from cancelling the NBA season

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Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

Rudy Gobert’s supermax

We all knew this day was coming, and now it’s practically at our doorsteps with Rudy Gobert being eligible for the NBA’s “supermax” contract extension.

This was put in the CBA designed for small market teams like the Utah Jazz to offer their star players more money than any other team. This was put in place with hopes that small market teams could retain their franchise players.

To date, only five players have signed a supermax deal, and they are:

  • Damian Lillard
  • John Wall
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Stephen Curry
  • James Harden

Wall has a player option to make 46.8 million dollars in his age-32 season if he chooses to, something that looks outrageous now that he has been fighting injuries the past couple of seasons.

Lillard will make 54.25 million in his age-34 season, which Portland can only hope and pray that he maintains his peak effectiveness up to that point. As of now the Blazers are cap-strapped and are struggling to find ways to improve the roster.

If they can’t improve the roster, then they will have topped out as a team that made it just once to the Western Conference Finals. If Lillard declines, then Rip City will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference.

I’m guessing that Rudy Gobert is very interested in receiving a supermax if he can before the start of next season. That explains his actions for publicly complaining about his lack of touches last November, and getting visibly frustrated on the court throughout the season.

I’ve already expressed that I wouldn’t mind if Rudy got the supermax. He’s an absolute game-changer on defense, and one of the most efficient offensive players of All-Time. Sure, he’s a system player on offense but he makes Utah better on both ends of the court.

Only a handful of guys in this league can claim that they are game-altering forces every time they step onto a court, that being LeBron James for his playmaking, Steph Curry for his shooting, James Harden for his scoring, and the Greak Freak for his unstoppable penetrating.

Without him, the Jazz would be a lottery team and have a long ways to climb to even get back to where they are today.

However, I will say this: once upon a time there was a repeat DPOY center named Dwight Howard who wanted more money, and more touches on offense to be a franchise player.

He held his team hostage before ultimately demanding a trade out of Orlando and shoving them into the lottery for the next eight years. Rudy Gobert can’t afford to let his ego interfere with what he’s expressed he wants most: an NBA championship.

In order to get a championship, more especially in a small market, sacrifices need to be made by everyone on the team. And that includes money.

Michael Jordan took a slight pay-cut with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, and Scottie Pippen as we’re all very aware of now was the NBA’s best bang-for-buck contract. That’s how they built a dynasty.

The Utah Jazz also took pay-cuts during that same era, which allowed them to trade for Jeff Horrnacek, and later allowed them to extend Greg Ostertag past his rookie contract.

Fun fact: Ostertag’s contract paid him more money (4.33 million) in the 1998-99 season than John Stockton (4.00 million).

My hope is that Gobert realizes how much he would help the front office by taking a deal that is still a max contract, but not quite the supermax.

The bad thing about the NBA season potentially getting cancelled is that precious sample size of Rudy will be cut short before the Jazz make that decision. The 2019-20 season was especially crucial for Rudy to prove he was a supermax-worthy player.

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